Rolex Winding Crown Markings: Crown symbols & What They Mean
As an enthusiast of anything, you tend to focus on each and every single detail of whatever it is that you are interested in. Because the closer you look, the more details you will notice. And you may even find yourself discovering things that you have never noticed before.
One such small detail for a Rolex enthusiast is the winding crown on the watches. And more specifically, the crown markings are made in relief on the side of the winding crown.
What you will notice if you start looking closer at the Rolex watch crown markings is that different models can have different markings. And what is interesting about this is that the markings actually tell you something about the watch and its structure.
But despite this, there is surprisingly little information on the web about the Rolex crown markings and what they mean.
This is why we have made this complete guide on Rolex crown markings so you can use it as a reference.
Rolex crown markings: a complete reference guide
To begin with, the Rolex symbol (logo) is referred to as a coronet to avoid confusion.
Even very old Rolex watches have markings on the side of their crown. On very old Rolex crowns – pre-vintage 1960 Rolexes, you will find a Rolex coronet (crown) and below that, there is a cross (+)
If you have a Rolex watch with a cross marking on the crown, it first means that you have an old Rolex watch. But what the marking really means is ”Brevet”. This means ”made in”, and the cross symbol is actually a patent cross. This cross on the crown actually has an interesting history. First off, people have confused the cross of being the Swiss flag (swiss cross), but it is not. The Swiss government actually raised a concern with Rolex’s use of the cross symbol on the crown due to potential confusion that the government was in some way endorsing Rolex. Since then, Rolex stopped using the + marking.
So if you see modern Rolex watches with the cross symbol or Rolex watches that are earlier than the 1960s, it means that it is a wrong crown for the watch and that it most likely has been changed during the course of its lifetime.
Another interesting point about the Brevet crown is that you can also find the + symbol on vintage Panerai crowns as well. This is due to the fact that Rolex and Panerai had a cooperative relationship back in the day.
What do Rolex crown markings mean?
Now, moving forward in history, you may have noticed that different Rolex watches have different symbols on their crowns. Some have dots, others have one dot, and some have a line.
To begin with, all modern Rolex watches have the coronet on the crown. This is universal for all models, but it is the symbol beneath it that is of particular interest as this actually gives us information about the watch.
A common misconception about the crown symbols is that three dots indicate a Triplock crown, two dots a Twinlock crown, and one dot a single lock crown. This would make sense, but the fact is that it is not quite that simple. Plus, Rolex does not use single-lock crowns.
Simply put, the Rolex crown markings denote the material used for the watch. Furthermore, the symbol also denotes the type of screw-down crown the watch has.
This sounds quite easy, but when you zoom in on the different materials, there is a lot to keep track of.
As you perhaps know, Rolex uses two different types of crown systems/structures for its watches.
The crown structures that they use are:
- Twin lock
As you might be able to guess, when you can see three dots on a Rolex winding crown, it symbolizes the trip lock crown. And when you can see two dots on the Rolex winding crown, you know it is a twin lock crown.
However, Rolex also uses a straight line on some of its watches. When you see a straight line on the crown, it symbolizes twin lock.
But at the same time, the symbol also denotes the material used, as mentioned earlier.
To help us understand the Rolex winding crown symbols better, here is a chart of the different winding crowns and their symbols.
Now, this chart can be a little tricky to comprehend, but what it really says is which watches have which types of crowns.
Let’s break it down.
Each image of a watch on the chart says the last number of the reference number. The last digit of the reference number tells which material the watch is made in.
The following digits tell us the following:
0: 904L Stainless steel case
1: Rose gold two-tone (Rolesor)
2: Platinum and steel (Rolesium)
3: Steel and yellow gold (Rolesor)
4: Steel and white gold (Rolesor)
5: Rose gold
8: Yellow gold
9 White gold
Now that you know what the last digit stands for, you can look at the chart and the crowns that are relevant to your exact model. For example, if I want to know which crow markings a yellow gold Rolex watch should have, I simply look at the third last line, identify which crown size I have, and then decide which marking is correct.
To make things easier for you, below are some common Rolex models listed and which crown markings they should have:
Crown markings on common Rolex models
Rolex Submariner: Triplock, marked with three dots. All modern and semi-modern Submariners have Triplock crowns, from the 16610/14060 and onwards.
Rolex Explorer II: The Explorer II has a Twinlock crown. This is marked with a straight line on the crown. This goes for both references 16570 and 216570.
Rolex Explorer I: The modern Rolex Explorer 214270 has a Twin lock crown which is marked with a straight line. This also includes the 1016, 114270 and 14270.
Rolex GMT-Master II 11671x: The GMT-Masters (pre the 12 reference) have a Triplock crown, being a robust sports watch. The new reference 12671X also has the Triplock crown. This is marked by three dots on the crown on both references.
Rolex Daytona 1165XX: The Rolex Daytona has a Triplock crown being a Rolex sports watch. Marked with three dots.
Rolex crown systems
The Rolex twin lock and two-lock crowns are structured a little bit differently.
Here is a picture of a Rolex crown and its gaskets that help ensure that the watch is sealed. Different crowns (and models) can have different numbers of gaskets depending on their usage areas.
The picture shows a typical Rolex diver watch, in other words, equipped with a trip lock crown. The crown has only one gasket deep within the crown. The case tube has two internal gaskets, one external gasket and one that fits between the case tube and the outside wall of the machined case. The typical gasket arraignment is indicated in red.
Below are some images which show the different Rolex crowns and their gasket placements. On the side, you will also find the Rolex case tube. The case tube is very important and is what the crown screws onto, and thus plays a huge role for water-resistance.
- Acero is Spanish for Steel
- Oro amarillo means Yellow Gold
- Oro blanco means White Gold
- Platino means Platinum
- Coronas means Crowns
Photo source: http://www.horologist.com/rolex_crown.htm
Rolex Triplock crown
”Rolex improved the mechanism in 1953 by developing the Twinlock winding crown, with a double waterproofness system which it introduced on its first divers’ watch: the Submariner. The metal gasket at the base of the crown was replaced by two O-rings in a synthetic material.
The first, inside the crown, presses against the top of the tube, as previously, to lock the case when the crown is screwed down. The second is positioned inside the tube, around the winding stem, to offer protection even when the crown is unscrewed. It offers another advantage in that it stabilizes and provides secure support for the stem when it is moved. The Twinlock crown is fitted today on most Rolex watches and guarantees their waterproofness to a depth of 100 metres.”
Rolex Triplock crown
”The third-generation waterproof winding crown named Triplock, is fitted with a triple waterproofness system. It was introduced in 1970 to equip the Sea-Dweller, the model designed for professional deep-sea divers. To further reinforce the waterproofness, even if the crown should remain unscrewed underwater, Rolex engineers added a second O-ring inside the tube. This acts as a kind of airlock, safely keeping out even the minutest particles. The Triplock system was fitted in the Submariner starting in 1977. Today, it equips all the brand’s divers’ watches as well as a number of other Professional models.”
More Rolex crown resources:
31 thoughts on “Rolex Winding Crown Markings: Crown Symbols & What They Mean”
Is it necessary to have Rolex logo embedded on all Rolex crown? I have 1980s ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST 18K Yellow Gold Ladies Watch, which doesn’t have any Logo embedded. What does it indicate?
Not all Rolex watches have a Rolex logo embedded on the crown, such as early models which could have a “+” as a marking.
However, your 1980s Rolex Datejust should have the Rolex Logo embedded on the crown. Perhaps the crown was changed by a watchmaker not certified by Rolex, during a service or replacement, if the crown was damaged.
I have a 69 GMT 1675 with a 1570 movement the crown coronet has a single line underneath it.
Is this the correct crown for this year of Rolex ? Please advise
Yes that is correct.
I have 1986 GMT Master 16753 with crown coronet / two dots underneath it. Is this the correct crown for this year of Rolex?
I think the Roman numerals look much nicer than the rectangular markers that are used now. Did they get discontinued because the Roman numerals cost more to make, or why was Roman numerals discontinued? Also when did the Daytona’s have the Roman numerals?
It’s ultimately a matter of preference. Rolex still uses Roman numerals for some watches, such as the Day-Date 40. It is ultimately because Rolex has deemed it more suitable (and appreciated by the market) for some of its models.
The 116519 and 116518 had roman numerals. This is normally for watches from the mid and early 2000s.
I am trying to determine if my Datejust is authentic. The Rolex face always seem to have a “T” before swiss and after made. Mine does not have either of these “T”s. Does that mean it is fake?
Seriously? These types of post bragging about waterproofNess on watches that should be able to go 100 m deep with no problem are absolutely ridiculous! I’ve worn my Patek Philippe, Blancpain, several Rolexes, several Omega‘s, into the depths of rivers, oceans, lakes and of course hot tub‘s!
Of course these watches can take it!!!
Hi. I have 1970s nine carat gold Rolex precision with no markings on the crown, would this be a replacement. Thank you.
The vast majority of Rolex watches. However, if it is the 9ct dress watch that you are referring to, the crown of this watch does not have any markings.
I have a Rolex Sea Dweller 4,000 ft/ 1220 m.
It has a date window and hard crystal face.
Question, The Coronet on the face of the crown is lifting off the crown.
Is this a sticker/separate piece used to designate the lock system? it appears to have 2 dots.
OR does this show that the watch may be a fake?
The wording on the back is very hard to read.
No, it is not a separate piece. It does sound a little suspicious. You should have a professional watchmaker inspect it in person to determine its authenticity.